History & Overview
The Caucasian Ovcharka, also known as Caucasian Mountain Dog, Tatar Shepherd Dog, Nagazi (in the Georgian Republic), Gampr (in Armenia) and Caucasian Shepherd Dog, is a powerful animal with an imposing presence standing 25-32 inches at the withers and weighing up to 150 pounds. It descends from the Mastiff-like dogs of Tibet related to fighting and shepherd dogs of Asia.
For many years they were hardy workers for the cattle breeders throughout the vast territories that stretched from the Caucasus steppes and foothills to the Persian Plateau. Swift, agile, ferocious when need be, and fiercely loyal, it was apparent why they’d been the breed of choice for both the Russian military and the East German border patrol. Though technically a livestock guardian breed, the Caucasian Ovcharka has also been bred to a fighting or protection dog, making it a challenging choice for most people.
Although this bear-like dog strongly bonds with his owner, he might not obey the family’s children or can overreact to protect them in play. This breed needs a dedicated owner who is capable of ensuring the dog’s safety and well-being. Caucasian Ovcharkas have a strong prey drive which makes keeping them around small animals and poultry problematic. A six-foot fencing is recommended.
Known Health Issues
The Caucasian shepherds are prone to Hip Dysplasia.
In the USA the Caucasian Ovcharka can be registered with the AKC FSS. The dogs of Russia (Kavkazskaïa Ovtcharka), where the largest breed population is found, are judged by the Russian breed standard. In contrast, the rest of Europe’s Caucasians are judged by the FCI standard (Caucasian Shepherd Dog).
- Janet Vorwald Dohner – Farm Dogs: A Comprehensive Breed Guide to 93 Guardians, Herders, Terriers, and Other Canine Working Partners
- Stacey Kubyn, Layne Grether – Caucasian Mountain Dog